Sorano, ancient medieval tuff city   
 


 

 

The Maremma in southwestern Tuscany offers both an inner hilly area dotted with vineyards and castles and a sandy coast with beautiful beaches.
In this part of the Maremma there are many places of remarkable historic and artistic interest. The Etruscan civilization was the first one to settle the productive earth of the Maremma area. Its subsequent inhabitants were the Romans, who developed a significant part of the soil into a fertile agricultural and cattle-raising one. The Romans started as well to develop the Maremma into a holiday area, building gorgeous villas and temples in the surroundings of the seacoast and near the numerous sulphurous thermal springs placed in the territory.

The major centres of this area, which has still not experienced mass tourism, are Pitigliano, Sorano and Manciano. The perfectly preserved necropolises in Sovana and Poggio al Buco, the vie cave (amazing roads carved in tuff that pass through the woods), and medieval villages like Magliano in Toscana contribute to make this area one of the most beautiful in Tuscany. It also boasts naturalistic treasures such as the hot springs and spas of Saturnia, and the hills of the river Fiora, which supplies water to the vast majority of the Maremman villages and towns.

The Tuff Area is named after tufo, a volcanic, porous rock commonly used as a building material. The tuff has been carved over the centuries to build houses, cellars, tombs or used to make "tufi", big square bricks which are typical of the villages and towns of this area of the hills of the Maremma. According to the description by Dionysius Halicarnassus, the greek historian, the Etruscans were an ancient and unique people, without no language and lifestyle affinity with other people. The term Etruscan indicates a population that lived in Etruria, between the 9th and the 3rd century B.C. The Etruscan civilization represents one of the most important cultures in Italy.

Sovana, in the southern part of ancient Etruria epresents a centre of high historical and artistic values. Its Etruscan necropolis is particularly important, even compared to other centres of ancient Etruria.

The town of Sorano has developed between the Rocca Degli Orsini and the Masso Leopoldino which is a large natural tuff rock. The tuff stone had been carved to form it into a terrace by the orders of Gran Duke of Leopold. The fortified terrace provides beautiful views of the town and the nearby hills and landscapes.

Pitigliano seems to have been taken out of a fairytale. It appears to have grown from the stone of this wildly beautiful promontory, bounded by green valleys crossed by the Lente and Meleta rivers. The high walls of volcanic tufa, carved out by a thousand caverns, project a series of tower-houses, thus heightening the picturesque feel of this medieval town.

 



 
     
Pitigliano

   

Pitigliano seems to have been taken out of a fairytale. It appears to have grown from the stone of this wildly beautiful promontory, bounded by green valleys crossed by the Lente and Meleta rivers. The high walls of volcanic tufa, carved out by a thousand caverns, project a series of tower-houses, thus heightening the picturesque feel of this medieval town.


   

Walking in Tuscany | The Hills of the Etruscan Maremma


    The hillsides of porous volcanic tufa are very friable which made it easier for the Etruscans to carve out the hundreds of tombs and various vie cave. These ancient routes linked the Etruscan sacred places. Fifteen of these megalithic corridors still weave through the surrounding woods, all but invisible to the unknowing eye.
The Roman and Etruscan tombs, carved into the tuff, are mostly temple or tumulus shaped. The tombs of the lower social classes are very often just rectangular holes in the ground or in a rock flank, and are cold. Many of them are still used today as sheds, for tools or storage, the columbarium.


The Vie Cave

The Vie Cave (in English excavated roads), also known in Italian as Cavoni, are an impressive road network linking an Etruscan necropolis and several settlements in the area between Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano, consisting mainly of trenches excavated as nearly vertical cliffs in tuff, sometimes over twenty feet high, possibly serving as an effective defense system against invaders.
In Roman times, the Vie Cave became part of a road system that was connected to the main trunk of the Via Clodia, an ancient road linking Rome and Manciano, through the city of Tuscania, which branched off from the Cassia road in Lazio territory.

 

Via Cava near Pitigliano

Pitigliano   Pitigliano situated on a steep tuff rock, high above the Olpeta, the Fiora and the Lente rivers, is one of the most scenographic villages of Tuscany. In particular arriving from the direction of Manciano, along road n° 74, in correspondence of the curve in front of the church of the Madonna delle Grazie which provides a scenographic backdrop to the town.
In 1293, the Orsini family moved its base from Sovana to Pitigliano, built up the town's defenses and fortified their home. The Palazzo Orsini has its water supply brought in by an impressive aqueduct, built below the fortress in 1545.
The Orsini Fortress stands at the entrance to the old town and overlooks the historic center. Next to it runs the impressive mediaeval aqueduct, that supplied the town with water.  
Of further interest is the Jewish history of Pitigliano. For a long time there was an extraordinary large Jewish community, that influenced the cultural life of the town.

The major attraction of Pitigliano, however, is probably its outskirts, very rich in Etruscan and medieval remnants. In the important Necropolises of Poggio Buco, located approximately 8 km from Pitigliano, there are notable varieties of tombs in rooms from the 7th to 6th centuries B.C.

Walk from Pitigliano to Sovana a short but extraordinary walk, following an Etruscan path carved out of living rock three thousand years ago.


 
Het Palazzo Orsini on the Piazza della Repubblica, and the aquaduct over the Via Cavour
    From Pitigliano to Sovana 8 km

 
    From Sovana go back to Pitigliano and pass the turn of to Pitigliano and proceed to Sorano. Two kilometers before you arrive to the village are the Necropoli di San Rocco. From here you can reach Sorano by foot following a via cava that leads you to il Fosso del Puzzone, il Piano Conati, continue on Via di Poggio Cani further to Pitigliano.

 
         
   

Walking through the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana | From Pitigliano to Sovana, along the vie caveand the Necropolis of Poggio Felceto | Download pdf

This attractive itinerary, starting from the village of Pitigliano and winding along a track through Etruscan vie cave and hilly sections, brings us to the centre of Sovana. This is a pretty route that has many interesting features, including visits to medieval villages, a gentle walk up sunny hillsides and a climb down into the area that passes through the wonderful Etruscan vie cave.

From Sovana go back to Pitigliano and pass the turn of to Pitigliano and proceed to Sorano. Two kilometers before you arrive to the village are the Necropoli di San Rocco. From here you can reach Sorano by foot following a via cava that leads you to il Fosso del Puzzone, il Piano Conati, continue on Via di Poggio Cani further to Pitigliano.



   
         
   
   

 


   
Sovana   Sovana was one of the principal Etruscan cities and was reborn in the Middle Ages when it became the property of the Aldobrandeschi family.

Once you have crossed the threshold of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, you can continue on to Piazza del Pretorio, which has several lovely buildings, such as the Church of Santa Maria, dating from the late Romanesque period, the Palazzo dell’Archivio, with its strange clock, and, facing the church, the Palazzo della Loggia and the Palazzo Pretorio.

In Sovana, you can also experience a walk in the enchanting Vie Cave, imposing walkways excavated from the tufa by the Etruscans, perhaps as communication lanes, perhaps for magic rites. Among the best known is the Cavone.

 

Sovana
   

Walking through the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana | From Sovana to Via cava di San Sebastiano and the Tomba della Sirena (Siren Tomb) | Download pdf

Near to the convergence of the streams Folonia and Calesina, in the immediate vicinity of the necropolis of Sopraripa, the chapel of San Sebastiano (Saint Sebastian) is situated, from which the via cava takes its name. This path climbs up in the direction of the plain of Tollena and goes in the direction which leads to Pian Costanzo and Poggio San Pietro, then proceeds towards the valley of Fiora.
This ancient Etruscan track makes an impression on us because of the charm of the surrounding countryside and is characterised by vertical cliffs in which dado (cube) and semidado (half-cube) tombs.



 

La Tomba della Sirena

 

Walking in southern Tuscany | From San Martino sul Fiora to Sovana

The itinerary starts in San Martino along the Via del Casone. Standing on the big new bridge over the Fiora-river between Sovana and San Martino sul Fiora, you can see remains of a roman bridge about 100 meters downstream.
Close by the road to San Martino sul Fiora, directly underneath the Fiora River bridge, is a small but nice bathing place.
Marked red and white.



 
   
   
Sorano, Sasso Leopoldino


  The particularity of Sorano is its strategic position, impregnable in its defence of the city and excellent at an aesthetic view.

Sasso Leopoldino As its name clearly indicates, this castle was built in the XVIII century when the Lorraine grand dukes ruled the area. It is located north of the tufaceous spur on which the village stands and, together with the fortress, dominates the entire surrounding settlement below.
The reason that the Lorraine rulers fortified it with a scarp wall, transforming this enormous mass of tufa in the center of the village into a fortress is unclear. Perhaps they felt it necessary to improve the defenses of Sorano by building a compound complete with a crenellated tower that held the town bell. Whatever, the reason, it proved useless if the outer defenses had fallen and in fact it created a hazard for the houses below due to the frequent landslides that plagued the old village. Later it was flattened and transformed into the vast piazza from which we can enjoy a splendid view.
Sorano was an ancient Etruscan citadel, built up in the 15th century and fortified by one of the many warring families of Tuscany, the Orsini. Underneath the town, visible as you approach, is a vast network of colombari, Etruscan-era rooms lined with hundreds of niches carved into stone walls, dating from the 1st century BC.There are several tracks, Vie Cave, that lead to the near archaeological sites, like San Rocco (an Etruscan necropolis), with its beautiful view of Sorano. The ruins of Vitozza, a rare and amazing town carved out of rock, constituted by about 200 caves, inhabited until 1700, with a beautiful roman columbarium and the remains of the walls of the castle and the church.
Vitozza, with around two hundred caves, it was one of the largest cave settlements in Italy.

 


The Via Cava di San Rocco


Sorano - Porta dei Merli - wide
Sorano, Porta dei Merli

   

Walking through the Etruscan necropolis of Sorano | From Sorano to Vitozza, along the vie cave and the Necropolis of Poggio Felceto (download pdf)

This attractive itinerary, starting from the village of Sorano, and winding along a track through Etruscan vie cave and hilly sections, brings us to the Rupestrian settlement of Vitozza and the town of San Quirico.
This brief itinerary begins on an asphalted road and continues towards the Valley of the Lente River and the rocky settlement of Vitozza, then turns north towards the modern residential centre of San Quirico. It is possible to deviate from the itinerary towards the Selava del Lamone and Ischia di Castro in the province of Viterbo.



Vie Cave di San Rocco

 

VitozzaCastelloRupestre di Vitozza, La Chiesaccia



  In the immediate vicinity of Sorano, in a panoramic position above the river Lens, is also the setting rupestre di San Rocco. The necropolis is situated along the tufaceous ridge that defines the valley of the River Lente. It can be reached by following the provincial road that joins Sorano and Sovana. To get there we have to cross the bridge over the river and then go up a series of hairpin curves dug into the tufa. The necropolis consists of chamber tombs carved into the rock that date from the III-II centuries B.C.
The via cava di San Rocco, that leads to the bottom of the valley below Sorano.
Coming from the direction of Sovana, two kilometres from the village of Sorano, we meet the well-marked sign to the necropolis of San Rocco and its church. We cross the bridge that brings us to the indicated area, where we can admire the necropolis and the splendid balcony that looks over the village and, right behind the church, we descend the via cava di San Rocco, that leads to the bottom of the valley below Sorano.

  Vie Cave di San Rocco
 

This tufa ridge, which until today has been impossible to reach because of the provincial road built in the nineteen thirties, features an exceptional number of dovecotes. They were studied by Ranuccio Bianchi-Bandinelli in 1929, who compared their construction characteristics to those of the dovecotes built in Rome during the Augustan age (1st century A.D.) and were re-used from the early Middle Ages onwards to breed doves. Their highly developed architecture (in some cases access to the quadrangular rooms, the walls of which are completely occupied by the small cells, is through a small vestibule) and state of preservation make them unique, even when they are compared to the numerous specimens that can be found throughout the area of Sorano.

Comune Sorano and Sovana
Piazza del Municipio, 15
Tel. 0564-633023 | Fax 0564-633033
Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche: 0564 633099
www.comune.sorano.gr.it

Opening of Etruscan Necropolis of Sovana
weeks before Easter to 2 November 10.00-19.00
26 December - 6 January 10.00-17.00
Winter visits by prior arrangement
Tickets: Free

Maps | GM, Topographic Map 1:25,000, sheet 333 TAB III – Pitigliano
Multigraphic – Tourist road map 1:50,000 - Maremma



 
  Manciano is a town in a scenic location that has been nicknamed the “spy of the Maremma” because of its scenic location.
Manciano was once a fairly important market town for the area of the Albegna and Fiora valleys, with a stronghold already recorded in the twelfth century. A brief occupation by Siena (1419-1455) left the town an imposing fortress built around 1424.
The most important site in the comune is Saturnia, an old Etruscan town with medieval walls, remains of a Roman road, and best known for its thermal springs dating to the Roman period and still in use today. The comune is further known to students of Late Antiquity as the place where the famous silver platter of Ardabur Aspar, consul in 434, was found (in the Fosso Castione, a creek near Marsiliana).
The Marsiliana Nature Reserve covers an area of about 450 hectares, almost all of which is contained in the Interprovincial Park of Montioni. The Reserve is open to visits only after booking. For information contact the Administration Office of the Forest Rangers (tel: 0566/40019).
The densely built town centre of the frazione Montemerano, crowned by its leaning Torre di San Lorenzo, is contained within its ancient walls. Montemerano became a power center of the signori dei Baschi, who dominated the comune. The thirteenth-century church is dedicated to San Lorenzo; frescoes remain on its walls, and a polyptych by the Sienese painter Sano di Pietro. At a short distance, in open countryside, is the church of the Madonna del Castuzzo.

 

Manciano

 

Saturnia's springs have been appreciated since Etruscan times, but it was the Romans and their penchant for opulent baths that turned it into a proper and popular spa. The via Aurelia, one of the famous Roman roads, transported affluent visitors from the capital city. Ruins remain to testify of its one-time grandeur.

while the town has Roman ruins, a well-preserved castle, and loads of atmosphere, the name Saturnia is associated with the town's main attraction rather than the village itself.

Nowadays, the bubbly baths attract tourists from all over the world, drawn to its natural beauty and unique hot spring cascades.

 
 

Montemerano is a picturesque walled village situated on a beautiful hilltop. Montemerano maintains the look of an ancient medieval castle with it’s antique streets and quaint, charming houses.
The Chiesa di San Giorgio epitomises the incredible, but concealed beauty of Montemerano. It’s one of the region’s most important religious buildings both for its fresco works and for its art, much of which was produced by the Sienese School between the 15th and 18th century.
The Madonna della Gattaiola (Madonna of the Cat Door) was painted by an anonymous painter known only as the Maestro di Montemerano in the 15th century. This piece, thought to have once been a wooden table, depicts the Virgin Mary in all her glory. But it’s the legend that surrounds it that really enthralls…

Cicloturismo in Maremma | Sulle strade dei campioni

 
Montemerano
  La Selva del Lamone and Mezzano Lake

 
 

Lake Mezzano is an area of great interest both historically and naturally. The lake was once a volcanic crater and historical site with human settlements going back to the preetruscan era (aprox 2700 years ago), now submerged by water due to earthquakes.

The Natural Reserve of the Lamone is located just outside the town of Farnese. The Lamone Forest is an impervious and partly impenetrable forest, which extends from the crater of the lake of Mezzano towards the sea, crossed by a single dirt road. The thick vegetation, natural shelter for many animals and rich of wild flowers and mushrooms, is formed mainly by small Turkey oaks and the undergrowth is nearly completely covered by "murce", large stones of different dimensions, inexplicably heaped together. It is told that Hercules, passing through these woods, had been assaulted by a group of robbers ( during the last century, brigands really found shelter here) and Jupiter helped him out with a deluge of stones, which killed the bandits. Many bronze-age settlements, from the 26th to the 10th cent., protected by high walls, have been found in this area, besides the palafitte village in the Lago di Mezzano. There is the possibility of excursions and walks on well marked routes..

Continuing on the course of the Olpeta, in southwest direction, along the equipped path n. 8of the Reserve, it is possible to reach Salabrone Fall, the beautiful fall on the Olpeta river that emerges from an exedra of basaltic lave. The toponym of Germanic origin (Sala = building, Brunnen = well, fountain) and perhaps is going up again to the period of the Longobard occupation of the territory.

Itineraries through the Farnese territory | Riserva Naturale Selva del Lamone Itineraries

 

Natural Reserve of the Lamone, map


Salabrone Fall

  The brigands’ path which is a tourist itinerary carried through with the GAL and the Comunità Montana Alta Tuscia Laziale funds, involving the whole territory of Northern Tuscia: from the northern Acquapendente borderline to the Castle of Vulci, in Canino. The path crosses the most valuable areas under a naturalistic and historical point of view: the lakes of Bolsena and Mezzano, the Nature Reserves of Monte Rufeno and Lamone Forest, the Etruscan necropolis of Pianezze in Grotte di Castro, another one in Castro and of Vulci, and the Francigena Road.
This is the terroritory where brigands, hated and admired at the same time, blustered for a long time becoming almost a legend. The Maremma brigands’ raids of the end of 19th century are the underlying theme of the path but is also a further occasion to visit and to discover northern Tuscia.

Il Sentiero dei Briganti: la guida | The brigands’path: guide | pdf

 
Castel Viscardo   Castel Viscardo, which lies 13 km from Orvieto was developed around the Castello dei Duchi di Montevecchio.

Of particular interest are the old kilns right outside the inhabited center, one of the few places where hand-made bricks and tiles are still produced.
By its very nature this production is limited and the products are in great demand. Of the four hamlets which belong to the commune, Monterubiaglio and Viceno both grew up around medieval fortresses. The other hamlets are Le Prese and Pianolungo.
 

Castel Viscardo

Orvieto   Orvieto still preserves its charming Medieval character, thanks to its location and to its Etruscan roots, dating back to 9th century BC.

Located on a plateau of volcanic tuff, Orvieto is surrounded by a stupendous landscape of fields and vineyards; the unbreachable walls appear to encircle the city rather than elevate it, as though it were a fortress rising on the flat valley floor of the river Paglia.

The Duomo of Orvieto is one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in Italy. The facade, a great triptych built by Lorenzo Maitani in the first years of the 14th century, is richly decorated in a dazzling mixture of polychrome marble, sculptures and mosaics, is certainly the prime masterpiece of Italian decorative Gothic.
Inside the cathedral, the Chapel of San Brizio is frescoed by Fra Angelico andLuca Signorelli.



 

Orvieto, Duomo
Acquapendente   Acquapendente rises on the Francigena way, an important road that allowed the small town to grow up. It takes 8 days to complete the final stage in Lazio. The route passes by Acquapendente formerly known as Acquapendentem, meaning, pending water, to arrive at Bolsena. Acquapendente is part of the upper portion of Tuscia, bordering Tuscany and Umbria. The most significant monument is the cathedral of Santo Sepolcro, constructed around the year 1000 over the votive chapel that Matilda of Westphalia ordered built with the same dimensions as Christ's sepulchre.

The municipalities of the towns of Acquapendente and Bolsena (located at the border between Latium and Tuscany) have restored (for pedestrians only) the old Via Cassia where it diverges from the current one. Via Francigena walks have become very popular among the residents and the many foreigners who live in the area.

Walking in Tuscany | From Acquapendente to Bolsena | 22.1 km, 05:55 hours | Map

The Monte Rufeno Natural Reserve, established in 1983, is part of the protected areas system of Lazio. It covers a surface of 2.892 hectares in, at the border with Umbria and Tuscany.
The Selva di Meana Park is adjacent to the Natural Reserve of Mount Rufero of which it repeats the environmental characteristics. The poorly inhabited territory is crossed by many marked and scheduled nature walks. Among these, the Anello di Allerona (Allerona Ring) which crosses the entire territory of the park.

Walking in Tuscany and Lazio | I Sentieri di Monte Rufeno


 

Monte Rufeno

Cività di Bagnoregio  

Civita di Bagnoregio is a small hill town in the province of Viterbo.
The town is noted for its striking position atop a plateau of friable volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley, in constant danger of destruction as its edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. It is a medieval village set upon a tufa rocky spur that owing to serious erosion was abandoned by the people who lived there.

Civita is on a hill accessible only by a long stone walkway that begins at the end of the road from neighboring Bagnoregio. Once, Civita was the larger community and Bagnoregio the satellite. Today, Civita has only about 14 year-round residents, so few that Civita is nicknamed "the Dying City." Many of the buildings in Civita are being purchased by rich Italians who come here for vacation. However the town suffers constant erosion of its volcanic rock into the valley below.

Civita is a charming medieval city, almost utterly untouched by the Renaissance. (The facade of the church was remodeled during the Renaissance, but the city is otherwise entirely medieval.)

 

Civita di Bagnoregio


Lago di Bolsena
  Lake Bolsena, lies 100 kms north of Romein a relatively undiscovered part of Italy. The largest volcanic lake in Italy, Bolsena's deep waters are exceptionally clean and sustain a thriving fishing community. Bolsena is the principal tourist centre on the lake's shores.
The old town, founded by the Etruscans, is dominated by the Monaldeschi castle and its raised position affords lovely views of the lake from its squares and medieval streets.

Lake Bolsena is surrounded by a 37-mile long panoramic road that connects Bolsena, Montefiascone, Marta, Capodimonte, and Valentano.

Marta, just a few miles south of Capodimonte, retains a very nice coat of arms of Paulus III at the entrance of the little town. A little fortress protects the town.
In the midst of the lake, accessible by boat taxi, their are two privately owned islands, one (Isola Martana) is closed to the public, but the other (Isola Bisentina), which used to be a summer residence of the Popes, is open. There is a large church and monastery on the island and are several chapels, including one whose interior contains some frescoes possibly by Benozzo Gozzoli, lining its shores.

Latera is located in the fascinating and enchanting territory of the Bolsena Lake, facing the western shores and extremely close to the famous Mezzano Lake.

Bolsena is crossed by Via Cassia, the ancient Roman road which during the Middle Ages became known as Via Francigena.

Walking in Tuscany | Walking around Lago di Bolsena

Walking in Tuscany | From Bolsena to Montefiascone | 18.3 km, 05:17 hours | Map

The first section of the route is spectacular, walking along the ancient paving of Via Cassia, still in good condition. Walk across a hill track, overlooking lovely views of Montefiascone and Viterbo.
The village of San Flaviano developed around the church. Sigerico stopped here during his return trip from Rome to Canterbury, recording the place in his journal with the name Sancte Flaviane. Already flourishing in the 9th century, it was destroyed in 1187 by the Viterbesi (inhabitants of Viterbo) and never rebuilt.



 


Lago di Bolsena


Bolsena

Viterbo

Celleno

  Viterbo is famous as the town of the Popes: the Popes had a country residence there, which may still be seen; and it thus became the site of important church councils, and in particular of the first conclave. Its beautiful historical center was conceived in the Middle Ages and preserves the essential style of the medieval architecture of central Italy, with many palaces.

Celleno is located in the eastern part of the Tuscia area of Viterbo. The old village lays on a 476-metres-high green hill on which you can notice a fascinating medieval castle, Castello Orsini. Also in Celleno you can visit the medieval abbey and church rich in artistic masterpieces.

Walking in Tuscany | From Montefiascone to Viterbo | 17.8 km, 04:38 hours| Map


 

Viterbo

Bomarzo   Bomarzo is a small town, located near Viterbo on the road to Orta. The Castle, Palazzo Orsini di Bomarzo rises at the edge of this small town.
Bomarzo Park, a 16th century villa with grotesque stone sculptures of monstrous porportions, depiciting mythological personalities and creatures taken from classical fables: Pergasus, Hercules, Neptune, Cera. Prince Pier Francesco Orsini built the villa in 1552. Mourning the death of his wife, Giulia Farnese, he erected a temple and stauary in her honor on the grounds. Vicino Orsini didn't call this garden a giardino, but Bosco Sacro, a Sacred Grove or Bosco dei Monstri, the Monsters' grove. Monster must be understood in the Latin meaning of monstrare, which means to show and demonstrate. This then means that from stop to stop, from stage to stage, each element is a component of an immense, very neoplatonic poem to his lost love.

The villa was designed by Architect Pirro Ligorio. Giovanni Bettini purchased the property in 1954, eventually opening it to the public. During the nineteenth century and deep into the twentieth the garden became overgrown and neglected, but in the 1970s a program of restoration was implemented by the Bettini family, and today the garden, which remains private property, is a major tourist attraction.


 

Il parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo

Tarquinia   Tarquinia, a medieval town famous for its archeological remains, is situated just a few kilometres from Tuscany, in Northern Lazio, very close to Capalbio and Monte Argentario and less than 1,5 hour drive from Podere Santa Pia.
Tarquinia is custodian of an incredible number of treasures, including very old constructions, ancient palazzi and historic churches, all of which serve as an extraordinary testimony to the past of this town.
Tarquiniais the Etruscan town per excellence. The frescoed walls of its tombs, famed throughout the world, are covered with the most archaic painting of the italic civilisation. The necropolis of Tarquinia, also known as Monterozzi, contains 6000 tombs, 60 of which include wall paintings.
Tarquinia Etruscan Museum, housed in Palazzo Vitelleschi, is very likely the most important Etruscan Museum in the world.

 

Tarquinia, Santa Maria in Castello



Tuscania

Vulci

Lago Pellicone
  Tuscania is one of the loveliest towns in Upper Lazio. Built on a hilltop by the Etruscans in the 7th century BC, the town was situated in the river Marta valley, about 10 miles from Viterbo.
Vulci, Tarquinia and Tuscania represent the emblems of Etruscan civilization. The ancient city Tuscania was a prosperous Etruscan centre in the 3rd century bc, and Etruscan tombs have been found nearby. In the Medieval historical center the beautiful Roman basilica of San Pietro stands on the old Etruscan acropolis, and has a 13th century façade with symbols of the Evangelists. The basilica, one of the most magnificent monuments in the Viterbo area, probably dates to the eighth century. The interior has massive 11th century columns with beautiful capitals and decorative pavings.
At the foot of the hill stands the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, built during the same period as the church of San Pietro.

Vulci | Castello della Badia

Vulci was the centre of a large city-state, but after the 6th century it had to relinquish parts of this territory to Rome.
In the Castello della Badia you will find the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Vulci. There are a number of important Etrusco-Roman remains on the site of the ancient city.
In the Natural Park of Vulci we can walk along the paths following the course of the Fiora, along the ancient roads that led from Vulci and Castro to the sea.

Walking in Tuscany | Vulci


 

Tuscania
   


On the highness of the Acropolis of The Roman city of Cosa, near Ansedonia, the imponent temple of the Capitolium is built. From here we can contemplate the coast up to the Argentario and to the Vulci seashore.

 

    Cosa
    Cosa
                 
 

 

Trekking | Walking in Southern Tuscany

Giovanni Feo, The hilltop towns of the Fiora valley, Laurum - 2005
A guide to the Etruscan and Medieval centres of the Maremman hills. This book describes the Etruscan Pathways as "rock-sculpted passages which spread out in every direction from the valley below Pitigliano."

Maps and tourist information on hiking through the Etruscan Vie Cave are available at the Tourist Office in Pitigliano located on Piazza Garibaldi 3.

Viaggio attraverso la civiltà del tufo (Journey seen through the tufa civilisation), a guide about cultural trekking, is edited by the cooperative La Fortezza di Sovana. Inside this guide, it is possible to find pictures of the landscape, very detailed maps representing the archaeological sites situated in the whole Province of Grosseto (among which it is also feasible to find the necropolis in Sovana), and the best local trekking routes. The guide also introduces the itinerates in the hinterland of Maremma, ranging from the Municipality of Sorano and Sovana up to Pitigliano and Saturnia.
The gide is for sale in the Book Shop of the Cathedral in Sovana or in the Palazzo Orsini in Pitigliano.

History of Tuscany | Etruscan necropolis of Sovana

Reserve of the Lamone | Itineraries through the Farnese territory

Pitigliano | Between Nature and Archaeology.

The Streets through the waters | Touristic-cultural Itineraries of the City Manciano
Reemerging from oblivion are the vie dell'acqua, a network of paths, cattle routes and rural walkways that cross through the Maremma area. This web of paths existed as early as the 1200s and was even used up to the immediate postwar era, when transportation technologies were revolutionized. Now, after a century of disuse, during which the vegetation swallowed up the faint traces of human activity, it is a time of rediscovery, with eight identified paths.
Three of them have been opened up to tourists who wish to delve into Maremma at a leisurely pace on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike. These are the via del castelli, which leads to the ruins of the Stachilagi castle and the Marsiliana fortress, the path that leads to Monte Sugherello, and the ancient via del sale, which goes all the way to Argentario. All three take visitors through a realm of history and local legend. The hub of this age-old system of roads is Saturnia

Parco Archeologico Città del Tufo | Five itineraries |Ildebranda - San Sebastiano - San Rocco - Vitozza - Fortezza Orsini (it)


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ature reserves and beaches | The Tuscan and Etruscan coast

 

 
 



The debate over the use of these columbaria is still open. There are those who maintain that they were used to raise and shelter pigeons, and others who view them as an example of the “Roman burial columbaria”. One very interesting hypothesis takes their location into account. The columbaria are located in tufaceous walls overlooking the River Lente. This river is full of fish, and nearby are woods and pastures so it seems to have been the ideal location for establishing a village that predated the advent of the Etruscans. The village was linked to the land below via a rope ladder that was pulled in every night to protect the inhabitants from enemy raids. The natural position offered the people safety and tranquility. The Etruscans probably used these early cave dwellings for burial purposes because there would have been no reason or advantage in building them in such a difficult position. In fact, the Etruscans generally built their necropolis in easily accessible locations (such at the site at San Rocco).
After the Etruscans it is possible that the Romans used them to shelter thousands of carrier pigeons – a business that flourished during their era – but this is only one of many hypotheses.